Three noted observers of American politics offer their views on what will happen in the second year of the Trump presidency by answering the question: "What do you think the United States will look like a year from now?"
Edward Luce, U.S. columnist for the Financial Times and author of The Retreat of Western Liberalism
This time next year, the Trump impeachment process will be just beginning. Having retaken the House of Representatives in November, 2018, Democrats will be under pressure to fulfill their vow to "hold Donald Trump to account" – a pledge on which their biggest donors, including Tom Steyer and George Soros, had insisted during the midterms. While Mr. Trump's impeachment will start with a bang, it will end with a whimper (although the process will consume all of 2019). Democrats will have nothing close to the two-thirds Senate threshold they would need to convict him.
Facing likely defeat in 2020, Mr. Trump will be switching back to full-throated "America First" mode. The North American free-trade agreement talks will have gone nowhere – Mr. Trump will have pulled the United States out of the regional trade bloc during 2018. Friction with China will be teetering on a full-blown trade war. Amid universal derision, increasing political isolation and the Russia collusion hearings in the House, Mr. Trump will, if anything, be out-Trumping himself. The White House rhythms will be set by Mr. Trump's growing persecution complex. There will be renewed talk of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office. Again, it will go nowhere.
Most of the political focus will be on the large and growing field of Democratic 2020 hopefuls – with none commanding an early lead. The field will be dominated by sitting senators, such as Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris. Although Elizabeth Warren has not yet entered the race, there will be a growing clamour for her to do so. There will also be a swelling "draft Oprah" Winfrey movement. Having failed to secure the biggest scalp – President Trump – the #MeToo wave will not have subsided. The liberal base will be pushing for a female nominee. The stage will be set for a culture-wars election in 2020 – Mr. Trump against a woman; #MeToo against a male backlash. If anything, our concerns about the health of U.S. liberal democracy will be even greater.
Ausma Zehanat Khan, Denver-based Canadian author of Among the Ruins and A Dangerous Crossing, and former editor-in-chief of Muslim Girl magazine.
When I gave a talk for the American Association of University Women just after the 2016 presidential election, I met an extraordinary woman. She was the contact person who'd invited me to speak and she was a little late for the event because her husband was in the hospital. In between co-ordinating the event and looking after her husband, she'd been busy getting the vote out whenever she had time to spare. A white woman married to a Korean-American, she was rightly concerned about what Donald Trump's America might look like for her children and grandchildren.
Since then, I've been at many gatherings in which citizens of all backgrounds and ages have been fiercely and doggedly co-ordinating "the resistance." Online, too, committed young activists send out scripts on the environment, on net neutrality, on the tax bill and on DACA and the Muslim ban. They do the hard work of collating information and simplifying it, then urge the rest of us to call our representatives and make our voices heard. Through this work, coalitions are being built across communities who've borne the brunt of the past year's policies. So a year from now, the United States is going to see a citizenry that is even more engaged on issues ranging from voter registration to reproductive health to criminal-justice reform. I think we'll see more women running for public office – particularly in local races. And I think we'll see people from all kinds of backgrounds – public-school teachers, lawyers, scientists – stepping up to run on a platform of progressive values. No matter which group I meet, the subject of a better future for all Americans comes up. I'm hopeful that this activism and voter education at the grassroots level will result in a critical change at the ballot box in 2018.
Desmond King, Andrew Mellon Professor of American Government at the University of Oxford.
The United States, Jan. 20, 2019: Following a year of economic growth and posttax-cut household income increases, President Donald Trump overcame his declining approval ratings to help Republicans maintain their majority in the U.S. Senate in November, 2018, and to achieve a razor-thin three-seat majority in the House. By the end of 2018, the President's raft of judicial appointments has reoriented the federal district and appellate courts, whose justices now routinely uphold the President's radical executive orders and policies. He has just nominated another Supreme Court conservative jurist. Appeals against the relaxation of Environmental Protection Agency rules have failed, and the massive expansion of private mining in former federal parks has commenced. The mining industry is enjoying an unexpected revival and the recruitment of miners has thrilled Mr. Trump's white working-class voters.
Mr. Trump has seen off the Mueller special investigation. The former CIA director's report and indictments have removed a ring of associates from the Trump White House, and in continuing litigation members of his family are suing the federal investigation, charging defamation and illegal probing of their financial affairs. But the President's activities have proved immune to any charges of unconstitutionality.
Foreign affairs are more complex. Mr. Trump's pro-America, protectionist trade policies have made relations with China fraught and heightened the danger of a trade war. NAFTA negotiations rumble on inconclusively. After Congress agreed to the allocation of funds to enhance the security wall against Mexico – in exchange for DACA rights to remain – Mr. Trump's ratings as "tough on immigration" have boosted his standing with GOP voters. But U.S. relations with Iran have deteriorated and U.S. policy toward an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is unrealized. The President travels abroad less and less, and has still to make his long-planned visit to Britain.